Israeli rabbis visit torched West Bank mosque in show of solidarity
06 October 2010
A group of rabbis from Jewish settlements near the Palestinian town of Beit Fajar has visited the local mosque which had been torched by arsonists. The rabbis brought Korans to replace those burned in the blaze. The attackers, who struck on Monday, left behind graffiti in Hebrew and are suspected to be radical Jewish settlers. The rabbis, from the Gush Etzion settlements south of Bethlehem, arrived in a convoy of Israeli military jeeps escorted by Palestinian police.
"I am sorry and ashamed," Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein told Palestinians in the damaged mosque. "There are people who set fires and commit violence on both sides. We are looking for a way to be partners of those of us and you who believe in the possibility of peace, and want to reach peace."
Shlomo Riskin, rabbi of the neighboring settlement of Efrat, said, "Whoever destroys, whoever murders and whoever burns the house of God will be punished from the heavens." Rabbi Menachem Froman handed over a boxful of new Korans. Local officials urged Israeli authorities to catch the arsonists, noting that no one has been prosecuted for previous desecrations of mosques in the West Bank in the past year.